Forgiveness: I Only Have Today

The art of forgiveness is as delicate as it is potent. Whether it’s granting it to ourselves or to others, forgiveness is a journey we embark on with a heavy heart and emerge lighter, freer.

Forgiveness is truly about courage – the bravery to face the pain we’ve caused or endured. The actions from my past that make me cringe with disgust, embarrassment, and anger – they were done by me, but not the me I am today. Addressing these shadows from my past took a courage that often felt like far more than I had. Yet, I did the work a day at a tiime, peeling back the layers to understand the ‘why’ behind my actions.

This is what forgiveness feels like to me:

  1. It Feels Like Courage: Confronting my pain, acknowledging the wounds, and deciding to let go. It’s dropping the weight out of the backpack of my past.
  2. It’s a Choice: It’s a decision to take control of my emotional narrative. Forgiveness is a proactive step toward healing, and it’s unique to each of us, much like our understanding of a higher power.
  3. It Starts and Ends with Me: Self-forgiveness is learning from my mistakes, no matter how terrible. I’m not excusing my actions but remembering that I’m a human being. I’m able to address the root cause of my past actions, which was fear, and learn to extend empathy and compassion to myself.
  4. Letting Go of the Past: Forgiveness cannot be contingent on others’ actions or apologies. It’s a personal choice to move forward, to recognize our worth, and to live a life of integrity, boundaries, and values despite the past.
  5. The Big Book: The Big Book of Alcoholics Anonymous tells me that resentment can lead me back to a drink. Forgiving myself and others is foundational to rebuilding the parts of me that were lost during my active addiction.

Forgiveness is the act of letting go of the idea that our past could have been different. It’s about embracing the present, because we truly only have today.